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Alina Aeby's Blog

By Alina Aeby | Broker in San Francisco, CA
  • No surprise mortgage costs in 2015

    Posted Under: Home Buying in San Francisco, Financing in San Francisco, Credit Score in San Francisco  |  June 16, 2014 3:05 PM  |  342 views  |  No comments

    Mortgage closings should become easier, and more transparent, when new federal regulations take effect next year.

    Among the revisions, lenders will no longer be able to make last-minute changes to closing documents such as imposing a higher interest rate, changing the loan product, or adding a prepayment penalty to the loan. The regulations specify that homebuyers must receive any new disclosures at least three business days before the closing.Yellow road sign bearing the word "Mortgage

    The mortgage guidelines, set to take effect in August 2015, were written by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and are intended to be easier for borrowers to understand by providing them more time to ask questions and compare costs.

    In a related move, the CFPB in January launched an inquiry into homebuyers’ mortgage complaints. The agency quickly identified four “pain points” in the process:

    1. Too little time to review documents: Buyers complained that they don’t get vital paperwork until they arrive at the closing table, where there is pressure to rush through and repeatedly sign documents – without ample time to make sure that they understand what they are signing.

    2. Huge stack of paperwork: Buyers said there are too many pieces of paper to examine, making the closing process overwhelming. As a result, many buyers leave the table with a lingering sense that something hidden in all those documents might adversely affect their financial solidarity.

    3. Documents difficult to understand: Buyers said closing documents are full of hard-to-understand terminology, and that they could use additional help from others in the closing room to fully understand them.

    4. Document gaffes: Errors in closing documents can often lead to delays. Even seemingly minor glitches, such as a misspelled name or forgetting to include a spouse, require closing agents to overhaul the package.

    As a result of that inquiry, the CFPB  started work on an “eClosing” pilot program that would move much of the closing process online.

    The program, still in the testing stage, would provide buyers with digital tools that explain key terms and important documents, give them more time to review mortgage documents, and make it easier to spot any errors beforehand.

    “We strongly believe that electronic closing solutions, known as eClosings, can lead to more knowledgeable consumers and a much better process for everyone involved,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a recent statement.

    However, the new guidelines and the eClosing program won’t take the place of homebuyers’ research. From choosing a lender to signing the closing papers, buyers need to take advantage of all the tools available to make the smartest decision.

    Pacific Union blog

    (Image: Flickr/401(K) 2012)

  • SF Bay Area Housing Market- going Strong, altough with signs of cooling

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in San Francisco, Home Buying in San Francisco, Home Selling in San Francisco  |  May 29, 2014 11:44 PM  |  544 views  |  No comments

    Monthly home price appreciation in the San Francisco metro area was the largest in the U.S. in March, though long-term gains appear to be moderating, according to the just-released S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.BayBridge

    Of the major metro regions included in Case-Shiller’s 20-city composite index, 19 showed positive price increases from February to March. Prices were up 12.4 percent across the country on an annual basis, with every market posting year-over-year increases.

    Nonetheless, year-over-year price gains across the 20-city composite have slowed each month since November 2013.

    San Francisco prices grew by 2.4 percent from February to March, the highest rate of monthly appreciation in the U.S. and nearly triple the national average. As has been the case for the past year, annual price gains topped 20 percent but were at their lowest levels (20.9 percent) since February 2013.

    According to David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, annual price growth is showing signs of slowing down in some of the country’s hottest housing markets, particularly those in the western U.S.

    “The year-over-year changes suggest that prices are rising more slowly,” Blitzer said in a statement. “Among those markets seeing substantial slowdowns in price gains were some of the leading boom-bust markets including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco and Tampa.”

    A look at March MLS data as of May 27 turns up annual single-family home price gains in all of Pacific Union’s eight regions, with seven of them posting double-digit percentage increases.

    Price appreciation was most vigorous in Wine Country, with year-over-year gains of 42 percent in our Sonoma Valley region. In Napa County home prices grew by 35 percent, while they increased 21.5 percent in Sonoma County.

    Silicon Valley homes continue to command the most of any of our Bay Area regions, with the median price surpassing the $2.5 million mark, 21 percent above what it was last March.


    Source: Pacific Union blog

  • San Francisco real estate market -April 2014

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in San Francisco, Home Buying in San Francisco, Home Selling in San Francisco  |  May 14, 2014 10:33 PM  |  718 views  |  No comments


    Single-family homes in San Francisco commanded more than $1.1 million in April to achieve a yearly median price peak. Inventory, meanwhile, has been contracting every month since 2014 began. The MSI –1.2 in April – has been lower only once in the past year, when it bottomed out in December 2013.MonthlyMarketUpdate_Apr14SFSFH

    As in the East Bay, buyers in San Francisco faced stiff competition, with the average single-family home netting almost 10 percent above asking price. Sellers in the city have been raking in healthy premiums for most of the past year.

    Homes stayed on the market an average of 35 days, exactly as long as they did in April 2013.

    Click on the picture to the right.


    After ascending to yearly highs in March, median condominium prices in San Francisco cooled a bit in April to $917,000.MonthlyMarketUpdate_Apr14SFCondo

    As in many of our regions, the lack of inventory surely frustrated hopeful owners. The MSI for condominiums in the city was down to 1.1, unchanged from March but still almost at a one-year low.

    San Francisco condos sold in an average of 29 days, with sellers netting 7.5 percent premiums.

    Click on the picture to the right.

    Source: Pacific Union

  • Guide for Home Buyers: How NOT to Annoy Sellers in a Seller' Market

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in San Francisco, Home Buying in San Francisco, Home Selling in San Francisco  |  May 10, 2014 1:21 PM  |  709 views  |  No comments

    Prospective buyers would do well to remember that they won’t get any closer to their goal of home ownership by annoying sellers.home sale contract

    This may seem an obvious point, but real estate professionals say buyers irritate sellers time and again. Transgressions range from failing to comply with a request to remove shoes while indoors on a rainy day to failing to call well in advance when canceling a scheduled walk-through.

    Don’t forget that until the deal actually closes, the seller holds the ultimate trump card: the home itself. And it’s a seller’s market nowadays, particularly in the Bay Area, where single-family-home inventory has been constrained for the past year.

    A recent article on Bankrate.com, a website that aggregates financial data, notes that “a little give-and-take is normal, but some buyers push the envelope, as well as the sellers’  buttons.” The article goes on to list eight ways that homebuyers may annoy sellers and jeopardize a purchase:

    Skipping appointments: Failing to show up for a scheduled appointment, or canceling at the last minute, is simply rude; the seller may have spent half a day making the house presentable for the visit. Unless there’s a last-minute emergency, buyers must show up on time.

    Disregarding house rules: If you (the buyer) are touring a home, remember that it’s not yours (yet). Take your shoes off inside, if requested, don’t let children run amok, and respect the wishes of the seller.

    Nitpicking: If you don’t like something in the house, but it’s not a negotiable flaw, be quiet about it while touring the property. Some sellers may secretly install cameras or microphones to listen in on conversations, so save any catty remarks for the car ride home.

    Presenting a long list of flaws: Using a laundry list of perceived defects as a negotiating tool could backfire and make a seller wonder whether the buyer is seriously interested. The seller is more concerned with the bottom line than a buyer’s critical observations.

    Requesting multiple visits: As a sale approaches closing, sellers are busy making repairs, packing up, and moving. They don’t have time to accommodate a buyer’s repeated requests to come in, look around, and ruminate on future plans.

    Renegotiating after reaching a deal: Barring any surprises from a home inspection, the negotiated price should be the final price.

    Generating ‘iffy’ commitment letters: You can understand where a seller would get nervous if, after an agreement has been reached, the buyer’s lender steps in with a letter asking the buyer to confirm his or her credit-worthiness. Save everyone a panic attack by securing the loan beforehand.

    Speeding up the closing date: It’s understandable that an anxious buyer may want to move up the closing date, but the seller needs time to pack up and move out. An extra ounce of courtesy is always appreciated.

    Source: Pacific Union

  • More than 20% appreciation for San Francisco Bay Area houses within the last year

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in San Francisco, Home Buying in San Francisco, Home Selling in San Francisco  |  May 5, 2014 11:51 PM  |  686 views  |  No comments

    The median price for a San Francisco metro area home increased by more than 20 percent for the 12th consecutive month, February’s S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices show.san_francisco_skyline

    Prices in San Francisco grew by 22.7 percent year over year in February, slightly less than in January but still one of only two areas on Case-Shiller’s 20-city composite to put up annual gains of more than 20 percent. As was the case in January, San Francisco was one of seven regions to show positive month-over-month growth (0.2 percent).

    Annual U.S. home prices across the composite increased 12.9 percent in February — a slowdown from previous months, according to the report – but Golden State real estate markets still rank among the country’s hottest.

    “The annual rates cooled the most we’ve seen in some time,” David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement. “The three California cities and Las Vegas have the strongest increases over the last 12 months as the West continues to lead.”

    Price gains aside, Case-Shiller’s February report notes that lackluster home sales volume and fewer housing starts are potential sources of concern for the national housing recovery.

    A closer examination of MLS data as of April 29 shows positive yearly price growth for single-family homes in each of Pacific Union’s nine regions. However, gains were for the most part less dramatic than in January, when they topped 40 percent in both San Francisco and the Sonoma Valley region.

    San Francisco County saw the largest year-over-year home price increases in the Bay Area in February – 31 percent – and the median price topped $1 million for the second month in a row. Our Contra Costa Countyregion also posted price gains higher than Case-Shiller’s California average: 25 percent.

    Price upticks in the rest of our regions ranged from 19 percent in Sonoma County to 8 percent in Silicon Valley. Despite the moderate monthly growth, homes in Silicon Valley commanded the highest median prices of those in any of Pacific Union’s regions: $2.36 million.



    Source: Pacific Union Blog
    (Image: Flickr/F_lopiano)

  • How did home sellers handle the multiple offers?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in San Francisco, Home Selling in San Francisco  |  April 10, 2014 12:45 AM  |  865 views  |  2 comments
  • San Francisco-the biggest share of Million-Dollar Listings in the nation

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in San Francisco, Home Buying in San Francisco, Home Selling in San Francisco  |  March 28, 2014 11:25 AM  |  1,050 views  |  No comments

    In some parts of the country 1 million dollars can buy  a huge mansion sitting on a lot of acreage. In others, 1 million can barely buy a starter home.

    Nationwide, only 4.6% of homes are priced at $1 million and above. Largest concentration? Right here, in San Francisco. Our city might not have the same upper market price level as NYC or LA, but it sure has a high- end entry level market. According to Trulia,  43.5% of San Francisco listings are priced at $1 million and above. That means an average of 1,774 properties per year. Fairfield County, Connecticut ranks a distant second with  29.7%( 3,234) of homes listed over $1 million, while San Jose, Califiornia comes in third with 25.7% ( 2,161) of properties reaching the $ 1 million listing price or above.

    The question is if the $1 million listings sell for the asking price or above.  Homes sold for over this amount made up 1% of total U.S. home sales for the past decade. Since mid-2013, the number  has risen to 2% of all sales, according to Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic, which specializes in mortgage and real estate information. It is expected that the number will continue to increase as long as the stock market is improving and the interest rates remain low.

    Million-dollar listings are more common in the coastal cities and not so much in Midwest and South. San Francisco and San Jose are driven by a healthy tech economy, while Connecticut is a satelite of the NYC and has strong ties with the investment banking and trading community.
    New York metro area comes in sixth place on Trulia's list.

    How much are the $ 1million listings are sellig in San Francisco? Well, as many of you know, most of the time they sell way over asking and with multiple offers.

    By Alina Aeby
    Sources: WSJ, Trulia
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